Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Amtrac: "How Can She" [Original Mix]

Some old school, no frills 80s-style house right here... from Kentucky, no less. Keep Louisville weird? Actually there's nothing too obtuse about "How Can She"; if anything it has a certain naive charm to it, as if Caleb Cornett (a.k.a. Amtrac) lives in a distant suburb for which Chicago house music is just now becoming available. With this song's prominent (and probably unpaid for) "Being With You" sample I wouldn't look for this to show up in any official capacity anytime soon, but through the magic of Soundcloud you can score it for free.

Para One: "When the Night" [feat. Jaw]

Does it speak ill of me that I recognize without prompting that most - if not all - of these NSFW images were culled from a series of softcore videos Penthouse magazine put out back in the 1990s? I feel like I've said too much already.

KILLER COVERS || Jessie Ware: "If You Love Me"

I make no secret of the fact that I've never been the world's biggest consumer of 90's R&B. Post-New Jack Swing I think there was an unwelcome (to me, anyway) shift toward the beat rather than the soul in the music, and as far as I was concerned we already had hip for that shit.

Nothing: "Downward Years to Come"

Nothing going on here except some serious vintage shoegaze. Don't know much about these guys aside from what's on their (mostly photo-centric) website but this interview from the cleverly titled Blog That Celebrates Itself shows the band's Domenic Palermo wearing his influences on his sleeve: Slowdive, Lush, Cocteau Twins, Swirlies... at least the guy isn't trying to pretend he invented all of this shit.

You can download the Downward Years to Come EP for a fiver via Bandcamp.

Scott Walker: "Epizootics!"

That does it. Tom Waits and Scott Walker need to collaborate. Walker in later years has taken on a lot of similar Tin Pan Alley-meets-junkyard influences, and holy shit is "Epizootics!" a fantastic example of what I'm talking about. Here we have a 10-minute suite of schizophrenic, percussive vignettes with Walker's Brechtian  warble chewing scenery over top. Why can't the Stones age this gracefully? If you're unfortunate enough to be hearing Scott Walker's name for the first time, do yourself a favor and dig up his backstory: one of the great anti-sellouts in R&R history.

Altered Boys: "Reality Check"

Altered Boys are from Jersey, but their style of hardcore owes as much (if not more) to early 80's UK HC than it does to their neighborly NY brethren. They recently debuted with a self-titled 7" on Katorga Works, but little else is known about their background... for now, anyway, I expect to be hearing more from these motherfuckers forthright.

The Octopus Project: "Whitby"

As far as Austin-based retro synth bands go, Ghostland Observatory gets all the love (and a lot of backlash to go with it), to the extent that fellow townies The Octopus Project have been quietly playing wallflower to Ghostland's raging kegger for years now. A lot of that probably has to do with O.P.'s sound oscillating wildly between eclectic genres of synth-friendly tuneage. "Whitby" is about as accessible as the band get, with the lion's share of the quartet's more esoteric energy apparently being funneled into this maniac music video.

The Whitby EP is already out on Peek-A-Boo.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Prince Rama: "Those Who Live For Love Will Live Forever"

Much of today's retro-synthpop is less outright homage than drugged out, misremembered pastiche. Nowhere is there a better example than Prince Rama, a well-hyped piss take whose Top Ten Hits of the End of the World was released recently to universal acclaim (and threats of year end top 10 placements) on Animal Collective's Paw Tracks label. These fuzzy, weathered, VHS-reminiscent videos are a dime a dozen these days, but few bands pull off the sound to go with them quite as successfully as this lysergic, ersatz aerobics anthem which is zero percent grounded in reality (or even pathos). This Beantown duo has done nothing less but disappear down their own K(-Tel) holes and want to bring us all to the party. Rendezvous with Rama, but pack a heavy lunch... you're gonna be gone awhile.

Adrian Sherwood: "Semistoned"

If your favorite form of electronic music has a strong dub influence in it, you've got Adrian Sherwood to thank. With his On-U Sound Records in the 80's he and a plethora of handpicked luminaries were largely responsible for bringing dub into the house/techno world. Now it's 2012 and, strangely enough, he's peddling material that sounds like neither era, but rather somewhere between those two bookends: "Semistoned" is ripped fresh out of 1992, with its minimalist, filthy slur of a synthline and a vintage breakbeat from back before they decided "drum & bass" was less racist than "jungle".

The Recovery Time EP is due November 26 on On-U Sound.

(via FACT):

Foals: "Inhaler"

That plucky opening riff may scream "instrumental math rock" at first, but negatory: Foals effectively split the difference between 90s modern rock and the new wave revival which has taken the aughts by storm. The intent is less important than the end result, and if there was still a legit radio industry around to break these guys they could easily be the biggest thing since Sponge.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Majical Cloudz: "Turns Turns Turns"

This cat Devon Walsh collaborates with Grimes but a bit, which you can kinda tell from his washed out, chill room ambient pop style, but the vocals turn an already laid back affair into a somber, introspective slice of affecting soul.

The Turns Turns Turns EP will be released December 3 on Arbutus (US/Canada) and Merok (UK).

FIDLAR: "Cheap Beer"

If Red Fang was a street punk group instead of a stoner rock one they would be FIDLAR. Never apologize for that Busch Light in your hand ever again.

Lockah: "Please Lockah, Don't Hurt 'Em"

Rave is making a comeback, and if you couldn't tell check out the title track of Lockah's new EP, Please Lockah, Don't Hurt 'Em. The MC Hammer and TMNT references scream 1990, right at that acid house apex before Rave 1.0 peaked and crashed.

Stream all five tracks on Soundcloud.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Melody's Echo Chamber: "You Won't Be Missing That Part of Me"

If you're looking to parlay in the psych-pop conversation you could do worse than nab Tame Impala's Kevin Parker as your personal translator. Parker produced the self-titled debut by Melody's Echo Chamber, kind of a surprisingly cohesive/accessible cross between La Sera and Tame Impala itself. Melody Prochet's prior band, My Bee's Garden, opened for TI on a previous tour. It's kind of unclear whether MBG is still on an ongoing concern with MEC being a side project for both "members" or what, but you almost need a degree in fluid dynamics to keep track of what's what in the indiesphere these days.

My Education: "Homunculus"

In spite of being from the same town as Explosions in the Sky, Austin's own My Education eschew the wind chime bombast of that band - who are possibly the most well known of the so called "post-rock" groups in spite of being relative latecomers to the party - for a sax-driven, surf-inflected instrumental groove on "Homunculus". I don't know, maybe these post-rock bands are starting to get a little self-conscious over mainstream acts such as Coldplay co-opting their twinkletoes steez and are heading the opposite direction, toward more of a Jesus Lizard caco-scuzz.

A Drink for All My Friends is out November 27 on Haute Magie.

Tamaryn: "The Garden"

Dusted MBV worship is all the rage right now, but there is arguably no one that does Loveless-era shoegaze better in 2012 than SF-via-NZ chanteuse Tamaryn. Signed to (where else?) Mexican Summer since 2010, Tamaryn and semi-anonymous guitar player Rex Shelverton play it a smidge less obtuse than Kevin Shields and co. but their hearts are clearly in that 88-91 halcyon sweet spot.

Tender New Signs is already out. Yeah, WKMR is playing catch up... sue us.

Gary Clark Jr.: "Numb" / "Ain't Messin' Round"

If "Numb" happens to be your first taste of Gary Clark Jr. you might be inclined to write the lad off as a late-to-the-party Black Keys knock off. Big mistake. "Ain't Messin' Round" - actually the first single off Clark's new album, Blak and Blu - shows the guitar slinger people have referred to as the "next Jimi Hendrix" in more of a modern soul vein, sort of a classy cross between 90's Lenny Kravitz and fellow Austinite Black Joe Lewis.


"Ain't Messin' Round":

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Lions: "This Generation"

In most important ways, reggae has accumulated all of the major drawbacks modern blues finds itself saddled with: namely, a reductionist calcification of overplayed cliches offered up in the name of tradition and respect but having the unfortunate side effect of rendering the music it's paying tribute to obsolete... you need an infusion of new blood, not the bloodless twelfth generation photocopy most reggae/blues "aspires" to.

The Lions realize the tradition never would have been shit without the actual songs, and "This Generation" is one of the more promising island-infused jams since the third wave ska breakthrough all those years ago. This LA semi-supergroup is composed of two guys from Hepcat, crooner Malik Moore and DJ Black Shakespeare (couse of Sly & Robbie's Robbie Shakespeare).

CSS: "I've Seen You Drunk Gurl"

Self-consciously clumsy 80's era rhymes, lo-tech clunky beats, corny party chic lyrics... it was only a matter of time before someone decided to do a white, indie rock version of vintage Salt N Pepa... thank God someone competent got to it first.